This is my final installment of The Waystone story. I haven’t been able to write any of late due to real life stuff getting in the way.
Once we had finished the album, the artwork was drawn up and the first run of CD’s were printed due for an August release. The plan now to “launch” Kaine was to have us go out on tour with Monument prior to the albums release on their album launch tour.
We played the Luna Lounge in Leytonstone with The Raven Age (featuring George Harris, so of Steve of Iron Maiden fame) and then we were off on Tour. Before the tour had been booked, Monument lost their bass player and Chris Dale (former Bruce Dickinson and Tank bassist) was drafted in to replace him. Due to his schedule he wasn’t able to do the tour and thus Dan was asked to play in Monument for that tour, and he was to be paid for those shows with the band.
Drama struck on the day before the tour when the vehicle hire place refused to allow Dan to use the vehicle we had hired in advance due his age. The frustrating thing about this was the fact Dan had already informed them of his age before I gave them the money weeks prior which left us with no vehicle. We spent the day trying to hire/buy a vehicle and eventually we bought a car which ended up costing me £900 I couldn’t really afford which the back line didn’t fit in anyway! So we had to ditch that car and use both Dan and Chris’s regular vehicles. We had lost £900 and we had not even left yet!
Our first gig was at the Rebellion Bar in Manchester. Unfortunately the audience was short changed on their admission fee due to the absolutely abysmal sound both on and off stage. Originally we were told that we weren’t going to be miced up and we would set out own levels which we did only to be told seconds before going stage that were to be miced up and had to turn down. The monitors on stage didn’t work for either the vocals or guitars and the end result is we heard nothing and neither did the audience as next to nothing was coming out front of house either. The crowd was actually really good and receptive but not any larger then we would get back home, and it was quite unique to see so many people sitting down for the show. In the end I asked the audience if they actually wanted to hear some guitars, to which they responded positively and I just bumped my amp up to a decent level and smashed the rest of the set out at real volume. Monuments sound didn’t fair any better with most of the guitars and bass non existent throughout the set and even the vocals were struggling. It was a real mess and not the start to a tour we would have hoped for.
We also met Lee Farmery of Furyon fame for the first time this night (well Dan had met him previously in rehearsals) which was really cool, Chris had always been a fan of Furyon and would often play them in the car to and from gigs which subsequently made me a fan of the band too. It’s weird how these things work out sometimes. Lee would actually go on to give the band it’s biggest ever opportunity which I will explain later on in this blog.
We had our first falling out with Peter Ellis (our manager at the time) after the show with him referring to myself as being aggressive and Chris as being disrespectful to him. This would all play out during the tour.
After Manchester we headed down to Sheffield to play the Corporation which was a much better experience as the sound on stage and off was spot on and the crowd was bigger than Manchester but still not huge by any standards. This was also the night that Peter Ellis informed us that he had split with Akis (producer of The Waystone) and that we wouldn’t be working with him any longer. We called a band meeting without him and decided that we would be working with Akis regardless. The gig was hurt by the fact the venue had a club night on with DJ’s at the same time so many of the audience filtered out during the night. We were also hurried out of the venue to pack gear away which is always a nightmare. Dan was on stage with Monument at the time and Anthony was looking after both merch stands so I and Chris had to pack up our entire back line as the club night started which wasn’t fun.
We then went down to Birmingham to play The Flapper. Again, as with Sheffield the sound was perfect but there was next to no people there and one of the lowest turnouts for a gig we had experienced. Touring is often glorified but the reality is very different if you’re an unknown band like ours, you will find yourself losing money and playing to very few people and that’s why many bands simply don’t bother with it at our level.
Things picked up for our next date in Scotland at the Stereo in Glasgow. It was extremely well attended and one of our best ever gigs, both in terms of audience reaction and our personal performance. It was this show that actually got us booked on Wildfire the following year so a significant gig for us. It was also my first ever trip to Scotland, somewhere I had always wanted to visit and I was instantly very impressed with Glasgow as a City and Scotland as a whole. We were treated extremely well. Both Dan and Chris’s fathers are Scottish and Ant was born there when his father was in the Royal Air Force so they had all been there before I had.
There were a couple of funny moments in Cumbernauld where we staying. The first being was Dan’s van ran out diesel meaning I had to push it to the service station and when we came back we were able to convince Ant and Chris that Dan had decided to leave the band after the tour which they believed until I started laughing. Dan had to face away from them when I was telling them why we had been so late so he wouldn’t laugh! On our trip to get some food whilst walking along the road leading from the Travelodge, I was suddenly hit with a thud of something hard and wet that Chris had just kicked. I had instantly thought Chris had kicked roadkill at me leaving me wet and dirty. In anger I kicked this “roadkill” back to find it exploded into pieces. It turned out this was an Andrex Puppy and while I kicked it the head came clean off and it ended up on top of someone’s car.
After Glasgow it was straight across to Edinburgh another city I was instantly impressed with and probably the best place I have ever visited. We met up with the guys from Culloden in Andrew, Karl and Graeme who had come up to the show from the North East of England by train and joined us for our visit around the city which was great fun and a huge laugh., although we did end up with parking tickets as a result. The show itself went well enough but wasn’t as well attended as Glasgow. I did enjoy the fact they had an air condition on the stage in the venue, called Bannermans which is actually a really cool rock venue.
It was after this night that everything started to go pear shaped. On our way back down to England it had transpired that Ant and Dan had inadvertently witnessed something that Peter Ellis didn’t want them to see and was pretty upset with them to the point of being very unprofessional in his response to this. I will elaborate on this whole debacle later as I plan to put more details down in a book at some point. I didn’t take his behavior very well and considering we were paying him to manage us I found this unacceptable. We decided that night we weren’t going to work with him anymore and I discussed with Dan exactly how it would go down and exactly what I would do to both diffuse and take charge of the situation as anyone who knows me, knows that I won’t ever back down from a fight and I certainly won’t be intimidated by anyone. I was utterly offended by how he treated Dan and Ant and I was having none of it.
As ever there were politics behind it. Peter very much comes from the school of creating situations to benefit himself. He basically didn’t have a full time bass player and wanted Dan in his band, so in my view it was blatant that all of this was an attempt to cause us to split. What he failed to understand is we weren’t just four guys in a band thrown together but four best friends. We would never dream of damaging the band for one individuals gain and that’s why we still remain friends to this day even though both Dan and Ant are no longer with the band. It didn’t work and the whole episode was frankly embarrassing. Dan was hardly going to be allured to make the jump from Kaine to another band drawing as many people as we do anyway, it was hardly Metallica calling.
Chris had to leave the tour at this point due to the fact he had an University assessed performance to attend which was very important. We had asked James Balcombe to fill in for the date as he had been our friend for years and never had the opportunity to play a proper gig with us although we had jammed together many times before.
The final show of the Renegades tour was in London at the Barfly in Camden. It was a really strange night. Before the show Peter Ellis asked for a meeting, we entered a room and he asked me to sit down, I refused as I said I was going to speak standing up and he mistakenly tried to front me out. I said to him outright we wouldn’t be working with him ever again, that his behavior had been completely out of order. He backed off from me and decided to try and pick on Anthony and the two had a heated exchange before Dan basically told him to leave, which he did and we never spoke again after that. Ant was extremely angry and did well to keep his cool, he did however punch a the wall leaving a dent. In the end we stuck up for ourselves and did what was right. I said if he tried to get us blacklisted from any venues or tried to defame us in any way he would hear from my solicitor. The whole MGR thing aside from some of the positives I wrote about in the previous parts was a disaster for Kaine and this was the straw that broke the camels back.
We took to the stage at the Barfly which was rammed and played a phenomenal set and given what we had been through it was tough and Dan still had to play with Monument. James did great with the set and we got off stage to a huge applause and sold the most merch that night of the entire tour. In the audience was Tony Dolan of Venom/Atomcraft fame (as well as appearing in big Hollywood films such as Master and Commander!) who reviewed the sow for Metal Temple. It was really cool to have met him as his aggressive vocal style and showmanship as a front man had been a huge influence on mine with Prime Evil being one of my favorite albums of all time. After the show, again we were hurried out of the venue so they could start their club night and that was that. We announced our severance from MGR the next day and it was over.
In the end MGR ended up costing us £3,516.60p and the tour with Monument £910 (£1,810 including the car we didnt use). We didn’t make any money on that tour, we were not paid for any of the nights and had to pay for our own fuel, food and accommodation whereas Monument did get a fee. Dan was never paid for any of his performances with Monument.
After experiencing that nightmare we were finally able to release our album which sold out of its first and second pressing and received extremely good reviews. We did write to a number of record labels, little to large in stature in the hope they would put out the record but sadly no one worth their salt was interested and the best offer we had was we that if we signed the rights of the album away to them we would get 100 free CD’s to sell and nothing more. As you can expect we declined. It’s a real shame The Waystone wasn’t put out on a good label and pushed as it could have been a big success. We proved on our own that it was a popular record and would sell but on our own backs financially there’s only so far you can go.
A few months down the line Chris was contacted by Lee Farmery asking if we would like to do another tour. Chris then got in touch with me and I was then able to speak to Lee about the offer. Basically Furyon were due to tour with Mordred who are a legendary band from the Bay Area but their singer had suffered a serious problem with his throat meaning he simply could not do the tour just days before they were to set out. The tour was a number of O2 Academy shows across Britain and Ireland and with transport/accommodation already paid for.
I agreed that we would do it and got in touch with the band. Chris was already down for doing it and Dan agreed, however doing so cost him his job and damaged him significantly financially. Anthony however couldn’t take the time off as he had too much financial responsibility elsewhere to enable him to just leave for a tour and his workplace wouldn’t give him the time off. Knowing our predicament I immediately got in touch with a guitar played called Saxon Davids whose band Entropy had recently split up and I had been in contact with him since. I had seen Saxon play a few times years prior and had said to Dan I would really like to get him involved with Kaine. I had pitched the idea of becoming a five piece with Saxon to the guys prior to the tour but they didn’t want to be further compared to Iron Maiden so it never got off the ground. Saxon agreed to do the tour and Dan set off to see him for a quick learning session a few days before tour and we then had one rehearsal. We were soon on our way to the meet up point after no sleep to do the tour and the next thing we knew we were in the back of the van on our way to Wales so we could catch a ferry to Dublin. Amazingly despite the timescale were even able to get some t-shirts done!
Along with Lee who effectively acted as our manager for tour, doing everything for us from running the merch to giving us some very sound advice, came Big Kev who helped drive the van and move the gear. Kev is also a great individual who was extremely helpful to us as a band and to both of them for doing what they did for Kaine I am eternally grateful.
We got onto the ferry and headed over to Ireland for the first time, another place I had always wanted to visit but never got the opportunity to do so. The ferry ride was good fun even though we had no sleep. I and Saxon were able to get into Ireland (and back) without any valid passports which was quite amusing! We met Mordred for the first time at the venue called the Voodoo and they were immediately very personable and good with us. We took to the stage having had no sleep and it being Saxon’s first ever gig with the band. He did extremely well although I don’t remember much of the set due to being so tired. We met up with our friend Ross Mc Eneff who is a singer/guitarist from Dublin which was cool. Seeing Mordred for the first time live was amazing. They were absolutely spot on given this was their first tour in many years and I was instantly blown away by how good the music was.
We headed back up to the U.K. to play Belfast which wasn’t a success for us. My wireless system was greatly affected by the lighting at the venue which meant I had to be wired for the show and a bit more stationary than I usually like to perform. Ipswich had just lost to Norwich that day which didn’t greatly improve my mood! I actually think we played alright but a reviewer absolutely hammered us that night! It would be the start of a recurring joke where after every gig I would tell Chris that we had another bad review and that they pointed out that he was a “shit Metal-core drummer” and a “stain on music”. It was only after the third time of me saying that he actually caught on to the fact I was winding him up! The venue was the Limelight and again we had to pack down quickly due to a nightclub starting which always makes things tough after gigs.
I asked Saxon that night in Belfast if he would be up for joining Kaine on the permanent basis and if I could ask the guys if that was possible. He agreed and I would speak to Chris and Dan at a later point about it.
Mordred were being managed on the tour by Matt Denny who we had also met before in Edinburgh on the previous tour and like Lee, Matt was extremely supportive of Kaine and a great guy to be around. He did amusingly lost his voice about two days into the tour which made talking for him a struggle for the rest of it but he was really enjoying himself as a big Mordred fan!
We then returned from Ireland to play in London at the O2 Academy Islington for a show attended by the likes of Malcolm Dome and Dom Lawson from the mainstream Metal press. We played as a five piece that night as Anthony was able to join us for the gig and it was a huge success, we even got a decent review! It was also the proof I needed to convince the guys that three guitars would work in Kaine but that was an argument to be had later.
After London we played Birmingham at the O2 Academy there. It was a tough audience as the local support had brought a large amount of their own fan base and many of them were quite hostile to us and we were given a few stinkers of reviews from that show, one of which didn’t like us because he didn’t like Germans playing British Metal. Yes. I do despair! The same people gave Mordred a bit of a lashing that night as well so it wasn’t just us who suffered.
The problem with these O2’s is they use a lot of Pay to Play and ticket selling bands to open the shows and help on their costs but in most cases musically the bands and their support don’t match what the bands on the tour are about and you just end up with two groups of disappointed fans. It creates a degree of hostility and competition which is unwelcome in the Metal scene.
Our next gig was at the O2/ABC in Glasgow for another great show in the city. We played the venue the same night as Blondie (who were playing another stage). While we had to lug our kit from a distance and park streets away, Blondie’s two touring buses simply parked in front of the venue much to Glasgow City Councils displeasure and they racked up a number of tickets which were stuck on the front of the buses which was quite funny to see. It was another great night although Saxon broke a string onstage which meant I and Sax had to head backstage for a quick change, almost like a Formula One pit stop while Chris and Dan covered for us with an excellent bass and rum jam. The advantage of me being wireless is I was able to turn on and join as we returned to the stage making the whole thing look like it was meant to happen!
It was then back down to Newcastle, which actually is a beautiful historic city at it’s core to play the O2 Academy there and again we met Karl and Andrew from Culloden and had a great day (and night) out in the city and overall another great gig. I was having the time of my life on this tour and it’s easily the best thing I have done in my life. Playing great venues with decent stages and good, receptive audiences was amazing but the fact at these bigger venues you can actually have a backstage area to get ready and relax and take a shower in after playing is a real treat and benefits your performance and morale greatly while on the road.
We then headed to Yorkshire to play Sheffield, again at the O2 Academy there. We managed to get lost in what appeared to be a maze backstage, along with Mordred where we couldn’t find the dressing rooms. Dan yelled “Hello Cleveland” in a reference to the Spinal Tap moment we were now living. We even lost Chris for about 40 minutes!
Next up was Liverpool for the first time as a band. This was a great night even though we managed to be accosted by probably the weirdest beggar I had ever experienced. He was desperately after food and kept hassling Chris for his dinner, I had bought an uncooked baguette by mistake (I don’t see very well) and some rather nasty Polish ham which I gave him. He then just walked into the pub with it! Gig wise the show was one of the best nights of the tour with the fans there being particularly wild and up for it, someone got so excited that they managed to puke up all over the floor! My amp actually blew up on the final section of Quality of Madness. It was great!
After the high of that Liverpool show we headed down to the South West to play Bristol. Now this was the biggest stage we had ever played in our lives but probably to the smallest audience. The Bristol O2 was absolutely huge and there was an audience there, just up in the bar area and not on the floor for our set. They really hated us. I mean really hated us. We were cheered ironically when we left the stage! It happens in music, especially when you have a crowd especially there to see the headline band and that’s what they want to see. You cant take it personally as music is subjective and what some may enjoy others may hate and there’s been a few times during our career when the audience has booed us or walked out during our set. Many people don’t know just how small of a band we are which means when they write nasty things about us, as a few did on this tour, on social media we would see it and respond which is quite funny! They just don’t expect you to see it! It’s not like we are Axl Rose! I suspect he may have a breakdown if he sees what people write about him! You cannot please them all and when you step up in front of a bigger audience you are going to get as much criticism as you are praise.
The last date on the tour was Brighton and it was a great way to finish the tour as it was a great night, we were even invited up on stage with Mordred and we signed off what was, and still is, the best thing I ever did in music.
As I said I am eternally thankfully for everything Lee, Kev and Matt did for us on that tour and actually giving us the opportunity to effectively enjoy that level of show and performance at last once in our careers. After all the rubbish on the first tour this certainly made up for it and if it wasn’t for that first tour we would have never been asked to do the second one.
Mordred were also awesome people as well as an exceptional band, they treated us like their own and always made sure we had everything we needed. They even bought our merch and watched our set each night which is more than you will get from small local bands! They were true class.
I don’t know if we will ever get to tour on that scale ever again. Chances are that was a once in a lifetime experience and given how we never really got picked up after The Waystone then I expect that may be the case. Even so it was still a great moment in my life and something I am immensely proud of. If I do nothing else with Kaine I can still say I did that and look back on that tour with fondness.
The difference between how we were treated by Lee, Kev, Matt and Mordred and what went down on the first tour is unreal. They didn’t charge us a penny, they made sure we had enough money for food, they helped us with the gear, they drove us to the venues, they supported and advised and they did it all because they are good people and that’s what it really should be all about. I really will never forget that and if I ever get into the position where I can support the next generation of bands in the same way, that’s exactly what I will do.
They say money is evil. Money isn’t evil. Some people are and it’s those few who exploit others for their own personal gain but on the other side there are people willing to help, nurture and support. Those are the people we need more of in Metal.
Love, as ever